I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled a bit with Shalimar when I ramped up my interest in fragrance and perfumes. It hadn’t previously been part of my repertoire or my late mother’s — her perfume classic of choice was Chanel No. 5. But as I read more and more about perfume, so many writers and commenters waxed eloquent about Shalimar that I kept trying it when I was at any department store fragrance counter, where it was readily available in either eau de toilette or eau de parfum. Nope. It just didn’t click with me. I recognized its quality and its legendary status but it was too heavy, too sweet, too strong, too old-fashioned. Every single time.
Then I found Shalimar Eau de Cologne on sale for $24.99 at CVS, read the Fragrantica reviews of the eau de cologne on my smartphone and thought, what the hell — let’s do this. So I did. I loved it! The eau de cologne of Shalimar is just yummy without being sweet. I get the vanilla, I get the smoke, I get the cedar, I get the leather. Shalimar EDC is luscious but light. Classic but not stuffy. I know, I know, it’s like Shalimar with training wheels, but nevertheless, I rejoiced at finally getting a glimpse of what all the fuss was about.
In 2016, Guerlain launched a “brume cheveux”, or hair mist, version of Shalimar, created by Thierry Wasser. You can still find it online (I got mine at Beauty Encounter) for very reasonable prices. Since our weather has suddenly turned very hot and muggy this week, I thought I would take it out and try it, as hair perfume seems like an excellent solution if one wants to wear a richer fragrance but not feel overwhelmed (or overwhelm others) in the heat. It is like a light Shalimar flanker, with notes that include citrus opening top notes such as bergamot, grapefruit and lemon; freesia, jasmine and rose among the heart notes; and base notes of musk, iris and vanilla. These are the same notes as Wasser’s 2015 Shalimar Cologne, not to be confused with the eau de cologne; and the liquid in the bottle is the same pale pink as Shalimar Cologne.
I’m very pleased with this pretty hair perfume! It goes on lightly but I keep getting nice wafts of fragrance whenever I turn my head. I would say that, after the initial bright citrusy opening, mostly what I smell are the vanilla, iris, and freesia, a very lovely combination. No wood, no leather, no resin or incense, no animalic notes, but still very recognizable as “Shalimar”. The hair mist softens into a powdery floral, and it lasts well.
I’m happy to see the success in recent years of various “hair mists” and that one can now find classics like Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar in this format. They wear very easily and make it possible for more people to enjoy and get acquainted with these classics. I think this hair mist would combine beautifully with whichever version of Shalimar the wearer prefers, whether the heavier, richer formulations or the lighter ones.
Do you have a favorite Shalimar? Which one(s) and why?